The Case For iPad 2

And no, I'm not talking Smart Covers here. Heyohhhhhhh. I'm going to lay out for you why I believe the purchase of an iPad 2 is worthy of your time and money.

What I like about the first iPad:

It's Just A Big iPhone. It's funny to me that the initial gripes about the iPad, mostly from those who'd never owned an Apple product, were that it was simply an oversized iPhone and therefore not worth consideration. You see, that's funny to me because I've had a chance to try other touch screen phones – Droids included – and I'm unconvinced of their superiority to Apple's handset. The iPhone is fantastic, so a larger version could only be a great thing. Typically, there are three points Android enthusiasts throw at me in an attempt to convince me my phone isn't worth their, or even my own, time.
  • Lack of Adobe Flash - The lack of flash video on the iPhone and iPad is becoming less of a nuisance these days, since more and more websites are offering their video content in both flash and HTML5 formats. Actually, the failure to incorporate HTML5 into a website  is the real problem. If you're not making your website compatible with devices that are in the hands of nearly 200 million people, that's on you. Not the device.
  • Camera Megapixels - As I've seen personally with both the iPhone and a Droid X, more megapixels does not equal a better picture. As it currently stands the iPhone 4 has 5 MP versus the Droid's 8 MP. On most of my photo tests, as well as most photo tests from other entities, the iPhone photos rate better thanks to the stabilizer and better focus. Colors also seem crisper for whatever reason.
  • iOS Isn't Open Source - Given the serious security breach that the Android app store just suffered, I'm not going to even bother to rub it in their face just why it's such a bad idea to let "anything go." There's a reason that computers running Windows are more susceptible to viruses. Mac keeps their shit closed tight so that the user has an over all pleasant experience for years to come. Android is only proving itself to be the Windows OS of mobile devices, which is saying something since Windows has their own mobile OS.
Apple spent years developing iOS before they released the initial version in 2007 alongside the iPhone. (Then known as iPhone OS.) I know I'm a fanboy, but to be quite honest, when I stop to think about the operating system, it's still amazing. Apple has perfectly designed a touch based system for mobile devices, and I look forward to the day they roll out their first true hybrid machine that combines iOS with OS X. It's Perfect For The John. I should preface this by reminding you all how important it is to both clean your hands and your electronic devices on practically the same intervals. Thanks to our society becoming practically dependent upon cellular devices, we tend to touch our phones more than any other object in our daily lives with more frequency and with more unconscious disregard to hygiene. So, I suggest you head on down to your local market and pick up two things for your iOS devices: alcohol wipes and lens cleaning wipes. Both come pre-moistened and ready to use. Alcohol for the aluminum casings and the lens cleaning wipes for the glass surfaces. Now that that's done, there was a general sentiment that permeated the air when the iPhone came out amongst my friends and many of the comics I listen to on a regular basis. "The iPhone has changed the way I poop" was that general sentiment. When the iPad came along, it became quite clear that there was a new bathroom buddy in town. It's not as cumbersome as a laptop, and the screen size is far more optimal than an iPhone. Netflix and websurfing finally have united with their perfect venue. Media Was Made To Hold In Your Hand. I never realized until I held an iPad just how perfect a tablet is for media consumption. I don't have a desktop computer because A.) I'm not a graphic designer and B.) I'm under thirty. Let's face it, on the whole, my generation is not quite the desktop generation. Yet for as portable as laptops are, my MacBook is now stationary. I have no desire to lug it upstairs or downstairs to perform such simple tasks as tweeting, reading the news, watching youtube videos, firing up Netflix, etc.

Why would I upgrade?

Now, why would I recommend the iPad 2 ahead of it's release on Friday? No, I don't have an advance tester device in my hands nor did I attend the announcement event last week in San Francisco. There are a few pieces of information that were shared during that announcement however that cemented in my mind the justification for upgrading.
  • Facetime - Some people might think that the lack of a front facing camera on the first iPad was an oversight or a purposeful act to encourage upgrading. I however don't think it's quite so cut and dry. I think it took Apple longer than normal to figure out how to market the new front facing camera system on their mobile devices. iSight cameras have been standard in Macs for years, and prior to their built-in status, they were made to be compatible with the full range of desktops and laptops. Now, we see in all new models of Apple computers, the built-in camera has been renamed FaceTime HD. I think they sort of stumbled onto "FaceTime" as a communication tool and brand. All that being said, FaceTime on a tablet is a wonderful idea. It's already neat on the iPhone and more logical on a MacBook. The iPad might prove to be the perfect medium for video calling.
  • Faster Processing Speeds - The iPad and iPhone 4 are already pretty fast as far as mobile devices go. Any time you add more speed – especially when you double existing scores – you've got a #winning reason to upgrade. What this means for you the user is that all app launch times will effectively be cut in half. Videos will run smoother and start earlier. Faster = better in technology. And things will always get faster.
  • The Smart Covers - Okay, I did have to mention these despite their not actually being included with the iPad 2 itself. They're sold separately, but the design is genius. Magnetic attachment, triangular folding into a stand, 10 different colors to choose from, screen cleaning interior microfiber... need I say more? Apple typically doesn't get into the case/cover production since they pride themselves on their product design. However, the new iPad 2 Smart Cover proves just why they should focus a little more R&D into that industry.

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And so my verdict, being both an Apple enthusiast yet a person who would not recommend a product frivolously, is that you should definitely upgrade to the iPad 2 if you're already an iPad owner, or just flat out make this your first iPad purchase. It's not necessary to do it right away, mind you. Apple is producing 40 million of these puppies this year. You've got plenty of time. I will say this though. Don't ever buy an Apple product if it is 8-11 months into it's life cycle. Something newer and better is waiting just around the corner. The good thing about iPads, however, is that compared to computers, they're inexpensive enough to gift to family members, or to just keep on the coffee table as a spare. I can definitely envision a world in which a household has 3-4 iPads lying about for the sake of convenience.